HLTA Golf Tournament
We are pleased to announce that our 2021 HLTA Golf Tournament is officially scheduled for January 21, 2021 at Pearl Country Club! Our 2021 golf event will be a fundraiser to benefit HLTA and assist us with operating costs.
We will be adhering to all State and county guidelines regarding COVID-19 mitigation and are looking forward to having everybody together again. Registration will open next week. Please mark your calendar and keep the date open!
A few days ago, I appeared on KHON2's Living808 segment to talk story with Tannya Joaquin about our Mākaukau campaign and the various steps Hawai'i's tourism industry has undertaken to safeguard the health of our travelers, hospitality industry employees, and our local populace. As you may know, this campaign was formed through a unique partnership between HLTA, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, and the Hawai'i Agricultural Foundation. What started as an idea from our initial meetings grew into support from a wide range of businesses and stakeholders from around the state.
Today on the Mākaukau website, you can access countless resources as well as a listing of the hotels and resorts that are open and ready to serve today.
Late last month, I joined host Brickwood Galuteria on his show, Kūpuna Power, for a great discussion that you can watch here that was filmed at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort (Please click Episode 15). Kūpuna Power was started back in 2012 as an annual event meant to empower local kūpuna with knowledge on important topics as they relate to everyday life.
Other media items that may interest you:
"House Speaker: Changing Hawaii’s Pre-Travel Testing Program ‘Doesn’t Serve The Public’," Civil Beat, November 24, 2020
"Some travelers frustrated with having to show negative COVID-19 test prior to departure," KHON2, November 25, 2020
"Debate Continues Over Balancing Economic Recovery And Public Health," November 26, 2020
"Business leaders, legislators urge governor to rethink new restrictions on pre-travel testing program," HNN, November 30, 2020
Commercial Rent Survey
Island Business Management President Ryan Tanaka recently announced the third iteration of the Commercial Rent Survey which HLTA has sponsored in the past. For the first time, this survey will be shared nationwide. To participate, please visit this link. The survey will run from today through December 18 with the findings being shared in January 2021.
These surveys are used to gather and collate important economic data that can be used to propose vital economic policy from State, county, and now federal legislative bodies. The last survey found the following information which you may find interesting:
General Membership Meeting
After reflecting over the weekend about our 193rd General Membership Meeting, I cannot overstate how grateful I am with how it all turned out. From the virtual format to the outstanding cast of speakers to the wonderful participation by so many of our members, I could not be more pleased with the final result.
First and foremost, I want to thank our elected officials who made themselves available to our membership. These speakers included: Governor David Ige; Lieutenant Governor Josh Green; Mayor Derek Kawakami; Mayor Michael Victorino; Mayor-elect Mitch Roth; Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi; Senate and Tourism Chairs Glenn Wakai and Richard Onishi; and Councilmember-elect Augusto Tulba. Newly-tapped HTA President & CEO John De Fries rounded out our slate of government officials.
Special thanks are also in order for Central Pacific Bank Executive Chairman Paul Yonamine whose presentation on Hawai'i economic diversification was both riveting and chock full of information.
In a live panel, executives from Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and United Airlines came together for an extremely interesting discussion regarding one of the most critical sectors of our industry: air travel. Mahalo to the following individuals for their participation on the panel: Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Watterson; Alaska Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Harrison; United Airlines Senior Vice President & Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist; and Hawaiian Airlines President & CEO Peter Ingram. I would also like to acknowledge the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's Allison Schaefers for the great job she did as the moderator of the discussion.
Finally, a last thank you to the people who worked closely with our staff to pre-record discussion panels and presentations. These include the following people:
Food Insecurity in Hawai'i & How We Can Help
Moderator - Dean Okimoto - Chairman, Hawai'i Agricultural Foundation
Phil Acosta - Executive Director, Aloha Harvest
Mark "Gooch" Noguchi - Co-Founder & Executive Chef, Pili Group
Brian Miyamoto - Executive Director, Hawai'i Farm Bureau Foundation
The Future of Marketing Hawai'i
Moderator - Sean Dee - EVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Outrigger Enterprises Group
Jay Talwar - Chief Marketing Officer, Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau
Danny Ojiri - VP Market Solutions, Outrigger Enterprises Group
Eric Takahata - Managing Director, Hawaii Tourism Japan
Jack E. Richards - President & CEO, Pleasant Holidays
Topic: Return to Work Survey & QR Codes
Ernie Lee - Chief Executive & Marketing Office, FirstVitals Health & Wellness
Topic: UVD Robots - Infection Prevention
Daniel A. Barretto - CEO - DECKA Group
Heather Moldenhaur - Director of Marketing - UVD Robots
Tom Worhach - Tech Support - UVD Robots
Topic: Viral Signs
Barry Hix - Chief Executive Officer & Board Chair - Viral Signs
Jack James - Hawai'i Lead - Viral Signs
Topic: Nano Platinum
Topic: HIV - High Intensity UV Light
Harris Nakamoto - President - CleanSpaceUSA
I would also like to say mahalo to each and every one of you who attended. None of this was possible without the full-throated support and backing of our membership and our sponsors who are listed below.
Finally, we have edited the entire conference and created a YouTube playlist which can be viewed at this link. Please feel free to re-watch and share these videos as you please. You may also download a copy of my State of the Industry remarks by clicking here.
Multiple news outlets have picked up a story regarding a group of legislators from California, Texas, and Washington who are attending a conference at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea. The annual event is being hosted by the Independent Voter Project and has received the expected backlash from some in the general public in online forums.
However, as I noted in comments to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, this criticism is a cheap shot. Not only are the conference attendees here on what has been deemed essential business, but Hawai'i has among the strictest entry protocols and safety measures in place. Our Maui Chapter Chair of HLTA Michael Pye, the GM of the Fairmont Kea Lani, has done a superb job of implementing some of the best standards of hygiene in our industry. And, as we know all too well, tourism along with other adjacent business sectors, has been decimated by the pandemic, and we should be capitalizing on any business opportunities that we can- so long as they do not significantly increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 in our community. Constructive comments and criticism are always welcomed. But, as I stated at our recent GMM, if accusations are unfair, untrue and are harmful to the community that we are a part of, we have a responsibility to set the record straight and state the facts. Mahalo to all of you in our association for your valiant efforts to reopen the economy safely for all of us!
I hope that you were able to enjoy a relaxing weekend.
Yesterday, Governor Ige issued his 15th Emergency Proclamation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this new proclamation, there are several additions that require our attention to remain in compliance.
First and foremost, the proclamation contains the following language: “All hotel operators in the State shall adopt a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan for each property they operate while this Proclamation is in effect...A hotel property’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan shall address all applicable guidance from the CDC…All hotel operators shall publish the COVID-19 Health and Safety Plans of each property they operate, including by making it available on their websites and by submitting it to the Hawaii Tourism Authority for posting on its website.”
To submit your health and safety plan, please transmit it via email to: Hotelcovidplans@gohta.net. HLTA will maintain updated lists of properties that are in compliance and will make this information available via our website.
As you know, our organization was the first to submit health standards to the State Department of Health for its review and approval. As such, please feel free to use our standards to ensure that you are in compliance with this mandate. HLTA's Health, Safety, & Security Standards are available for download at this link.
The updated proclamation includes the following: "…and it shall be the responsibility of the hotel operator of each property to accommodate guests who become positive for COVID-19 or are identified as close contacts of a person who is positive for COVID-19, either by accommodating these guests at the property or by securing alternative accommodations.”
This makes clear that hotels are to accommodate guests who have contracted COVID-19 while in Hawai‘i. However, I must be clear that this mandate applies only to guests who have existing reservations. You are not required to take in an unannounced traveler who is COVID-19 positive.
Finally, the proclamation includes updated clarification of the statewide mask mandate, requiring any individual in public to be wearing a mask. Furthermore, it also mandates that businesses must refuse service to any individual who refuses to wear an appropriate mask. Any entity found not to be in compliance with this could face fines as well as closure.
In other news, Hawaii News Now has run a number of articles in the past days about the current state of our local tourism economy. In an interview with Mahealani Richardson, I reiterated our position that we truly believe that we can still provide a quality travel experience for the visitors who decide to come here during this time.
"West Coast states urge against travel, putting Hawaii’s fragile tourism recovery at risk," Hawaii News Now, November 16, 2020
General Membership Meeting
The Future of Marketing Hawai'i
Clockwise from top left: Eric Takahata - Managing Director, Hawaii Tourism Japan; Jay Talwar - Chief Marketing Officer, Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau; Danny Ojiri - VP Market Solutions, Outrigger Enterprises Group; Jack E. Richards - President & CEO, Pleasant Holidays.
It is General Membership Meeting Week!
The entire HLTA staff is excited to be able to interact with you all again, albeit in a new and virtual way. Today, I wanted to share with you some information about two of our discussion panels.
As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our industry, but this has opened up exciting and new possibilities on the things that our home has to offer to travelers as well as, maybe more importantly, how we market these assets to the rest of the world.
As such, HLTA's 193rd GMM will feature an asynchronous discussion panel entitled: The Future of Marketing Hawai'i. This panel will feature HVCB's Chief Marketing Officer Jay Talwar, Outrigger Enterprises Group's Chief Marketing Officer Danny Ojiri, Hawai'i Tourism Japan's Managing Director Eric Takahata, and Pleasant Holidays' President & CEO Jack E. Richards.
This discussion panel will be available throughout our entire conference, and I highly encourage you to take some time to listen in.
The Future of Marketing Hawai'i panel discussion will be moderated by Outrigger Enterprises Group's Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Sean Dee.
The Future of Hawai'i from the Skies: an Airlines Panel
Clockwise from top left: Peter Ingram - President & CEO, Hawaiian Airlines; Andrew Harrison - Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Alaska Airlines; Andrew Watterson - EVP & Chief Revenue Officer, Southwest Airlines; Toby Enqvist - Senior Vice President & Chief Customer Officer, United Airlines.
Much in the way that our local industry has the opportunity to re-imagine the way that we market our island to the masses, air travel has undoubtedly changed in the wake of COVID-19. In this panel discussion, you will have the chance to listen in as executives from our partners who provide flights to Hawai'i discuss the future of air travel as we know it.
The panel, which will be moderated by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's Allison Schaefers, will feature representatives from United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and, of course, Hawaiian Airlines. This will be an important conversation, and you should not miss it.
The Future of Hawai'i from the Skies: an Airlines Panel will be moderated by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's Waikiki Bureau Chief Allison Schaefers.
Several months ago, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield made a public statement that said Americans could bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control in just a couple of months if every citizen chose to wear a mask in an effort to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus that has killed 200,000 Americans.
As you know, I have advocated locally for our government to not only mandate masks, but also to enact legislation that would allow law enforcement to issue a ticket to those not in compliance rather than a citation. The fine, which could be compared to those of a parking ticket, would have an immediate impact on those who are cited.
"Statewide mask mandate could mean immediate fines for violators," KHON2, November 5, 2020
I was pleased to see State Attorney General Clare Connors echo these comments in a recent story on KHON. Lieutenant Governor Josh Green agreed in recent comments to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, noting also that the State Legislature could enact this type of legislation on November 18 when the Senate will meet to consider Gov. Ige's recent judicial appointment. Moreover, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has indicated that the corporation counsel in each county are in discussion with the Attorney General to develop a statewide policy.
It is my position that this would have an immediate and measurable impact on the slight upward trend in new COVID-19 cases that we have seen as of late. It would also force those who choose to flout the law to take it more seriously. I am hopeful that the State and county governments will make this course of action a priority and address this issue sooner rather than later.
General Membership Meeting
Hawaiian Airlines President & CEO Peter Ingram and Alaska Airlines Director of Sales, Community & Public Relations Daniel Chun will both participate in a discussion panel entitled: The Future of Hawai'i from the Skies: an Airline Panel"
We are less than a week away from our 193rd General Membership Meeting, and the final details are falling into place. I am excited to say that we have put together an extremely diverse and informational program for our first-ever virtual GMM. Please take some time to review the schedule below and, if you haven't already, register for this event.
If you have any questions or concerns about GMM, please email my Director of Membership & Special Events Ashley Yonamine who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
193 HLTA General Membership Meeting
Friday, November 13th
It is clear that our strong advocacy in opposition to Bill 80 (2020) led the City Council to reconsider its position on the proposed measure. The bill's original author Councilmember Tommy Waters instead submitted Resolution 20-296 which urges our industry to work with hotel employees to both address return to work practices and establish comprehensive safety protocols to ensure safe working conditions. Yesterday, the measure was heard by the City Council and committed to the Committee on Executive Matters and Legal Affairs. I submitted testimony in support of this measure as these are goals and objectives that our industry stakeholders have already been very actively pursuing with our employees and the two labor organizations that represent their workers. And our non-affiliated labor hotels have also done an excellent job of bringing their workers back safely.
I feel strongly that a resolution is the more responsible way for the Council to address the impacts of the pandemic, and I was pleased to see the Honolulu Star-Advertiser agree with this sentiment in a recent "Off the News" column which I have reproduced below. Though the resolution has been referred back to Councilmember Ron Menor's EMLA committee, any changes to the measure that will impact our industry adversely will not have our support. More importantly, resolutions do not have the force of law.
"City Council Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi has rightly put on hold a bill that mandates hotel employee callback rules and requires cleaning of occupied hotel rooms. While the debate over Bill 80 is a necessary one to balance business and labor concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the measure's legality is dubious and the room-cleaning proposal appears to conflict with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines."
-Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "Off the News"
General Election Recap
Mufi is pictured above with Senator Kurt Fevella, who coasted to re-election last night, and Senator Fevella's daughter Abigail, a Campbell High School junior.
The 2020 general election, at least for Hawai'i, is over.
In a record-setting election year, Hawai'i saw 579,165 ballots cast out of a possible 832,466 registered voters, totaling nearly 70% voter participation. Despite the significant delay on the first printout of election results and the fact that so many people on Oahu had to stand in line for several hours to vote, it was wonderful to see so many Hawai'i residents committed to voting and having their voices heard.
Overall, last night was highly successful for the candidates who were endorsed by HLTA. While our preferred candidates didn't emerge victorious in every race that we had hoped, we respect the democratic process. And, whether HLTA endorsed them or not, we look forward to working with these dedicated community leaders in the future. We also want to do a shoutout to those who fell short last night for their willingness to offer voters another viable option.
Congratulations to the following candidates on their election:
Hawai'i State Senate
Gil S. Coloma Keith-Agaran, District 5
Stanley Chang, District 9
Kurt Fevella, District 19
Donovan Dela Cruz, District 22
Hawai'i State House of Representatives
Chris Todd, District 2
Richard Onishi, District 3
Justin Woodson, District 9
Lynn DeCoite, District 13
Nadine Nakamura, District 14
James Kunane Tokioka, District 15
Gene Ward, District 17
Mark Hashem, District 18
Adrian Tam, District 22
Sam Kong, District 33
Gregg Takayama, District 34
Ryan Yamane, District 37
Ty Cullen, District 39
Bob McDermott, District 40
Stacelynn Eli, District 43
Cedric Gates, District 44
Lauren Cheape Matsumoto, District 45
Sean Quinlan, District 47
Scot Matayoshi, District 49
Patrick Branco, District 50
Kaua'i County Council
Bernard Carvalho Jr.
Maui County Council
Alice Lee, Wailuku-Waihe‘e-Waikapū
Yuki Lei Sugimura, Upcountry
Tasha Kama, Kahului
Honolulu City Council
Esther Kiaʻāina, District 3
Augusto E. Tulba, District 9
Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney
Hawai'i County Mayor
In the race for Honolulu mayor, HLTA went open, but I would also like to convey our congratulations to Rick Blangiardi for emerging victorious.
Please click here for statewide election results
Prince Lot Hula Festival
For the first time ever, the Moanalua Gardens Foundation will hold its 43rd Prince Lot Hula Festival virtually. This annual event, which is sponsored by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority, will feature performances from hālau hula under the direction of renowned kumu hula like Vicky Holt Takamine, Lilinoe Lindsey, and none other than HLTA Board member Michael Pili Pang.
The festival will be broadcast on KHON2 on November 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. with rebroadcasts available on Saturday, November 7 on KHON2 and Sunday, November 8 on KHII. Tomorrow's broadcast will also feature a livestream on KHON2's website.
Please take a moment to check out the festival program and tune in tomorrow night or this weekend!
General Membership Meeting
Please click above to view our PROMO VIDEO for our 193rd General Membership Meeting!
We are just over a week away from our 193rd General Membership Meeting which will be held virtually for the first time in the history of our organization. Our staff is working tirelessly to finalize all the details and the countless moving parts to make this year's GMM both memorable and informational.
Below, you will find the tentative schedule for November 12th and 13th. I am excited to announce that we have confirmed the following speakers who will be providing remarks next week: Governor David Ige, Lt. Governor Josh Green, Mayor Derek Kawakami, and Mayor Michael Victorino. We will also be extending invitations to the mayors-elect from Honolulu and Hawai'i Island pending the results of tomorrow's election. The first day's program will conclude with a discussion panel focusing on an important aspect of tourism- airlift capacity. The panel will be comprised of representatives from Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.
To kick off the second day of GMM, we will featuring a provocative presentation from Central Pacific Bank Executive Chairman Paul Yonamine entitled "Economic Diversification?” We will then segue to our “State of the Industry" portion, during which we will hear from HLTA’s outgoing and incoming Chairs Mike Jokovich, Cheryl Williams, and yours truly.
Finally, in a new offering for our virtual GMM, we will be making available pre-recorded panels on topics including COVID-19 solutions, Hawai'i tourism marketing strategies for our key markets, and Food Insecurity These will be available to view at any time during the conference.
We are most looking forward to "seeing" you all next week. Please make sure to sign up as soon as possible!
193 HLTA General Membership Meeting
2020 General Election
Tomorrow is the final day of the general election cycle, and I wanted to take a moment to remind you to please, please, please exercise your right to vote. This ranks among the most important of our rights as citizens, and we should do all that we can to ensure that we are each counted and our voices heard. Below you will find links to voting information for each county.
As a reminder, you can always click here to view the entire list of HLTA's endorsed candidates for this election.
City & County of Honolulu
Stay in the know
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